Rookies – and principals – are kidding themselves if they think new agents can improvise their way to success, explains one franchise group’s head of training.
Structure, structure, structure. That’s the only way that agents can expect to make a fast start to their sales career and set themselves up for a long and successful time in real estate, according to LJ Hooker’s head of network sales and training, Graeme Hyde.
LJ Hooker was the standout group in this year’s Young Guns ranking, providing 16 of the 50 entrants. That was partly due to a training program for new recruits that LJ Hooker established three years ago as it tried to close the revolving door of recruitment that bedevils the industry.
“We introduced the course because we saw the 'fatality rate' of people that didn't make it in real estate,” Mr Hyde says.
“It wasn't necessarily because they weren't good people; they just didn't have the right training, guidance and support to ensure they were given the best possible chance. So we saw that we could improve the success rate of agents joining our company and we could accelerate their productivity, which is exactly what's happened.”
Ironically, some of those 'fatalities' would have occurred because those people enjoyed too much success too soon, according to Mr Hyde. They would have fluked a few sales early in their career and received false validation for their ad-hoc approach to real estate. Ultimately, though, they would have suffered the consequences of not understanding the fundamentals of real estate practice – not because they didn't want to learn, but because they didn't know what they didn't know.
Mr Hyde’s belief in structure is based on hundreds of case studies, with LJ Hooker admitting about 280 students per year to its four-day training program. He says that while the real estate licence course does a good job of teaching theory, it doesn't teach the practical skills that new agents need to learn – which is what the LJ Hooker course prioritises.
That includes teaching newcomers how to understand their local market, conduct marketing campaigns, run listing presentations, handle negotiations and deliver customer service. Participants also work to develop a plan for their growth over the following three years.
Mr Hyde says one problem that affects many new agents is that they find themselves on a roller coaster of good periods and bad periods; winning a listing is sweet, but then anxiety sets in once the sale is completed and the next piece of business has to be found. However, those who take a more structured approach to real estate recognise that looking after buyers and sellers shouldn’t be a one-off transaction but the start of a life-long relationship that generates years of repeat business, according to Mr Hyde.
Making a fast start to a real estate career requires more than just attending a training course, Mr Hyde adds. Implementation and monitoring – structure again – are also vital. Course participants gain access to a full-time coach for the first three months, because sometimes their colleagues might not have time to help them. LJ Hooker also provides support to franchisees to ensure that they monitor rookies and keep them on track.
“I think business leadership is a very important quality and that any new entrant has got to have support, especially in that first six to 12 months. It’s usually in that period that people really start to struggle and hit the wall. They've made a couple of sales and got a couple of listings, but it's not happening fast enough for them and the budgets they've got to meet. That’s where they can get off track a little bit and a bit disconcerted about how it's all going for them,” he says.